Raw milk seized in Athens Georgia raid

Here’s an excerpt of the story from Merritt Melancon of OnlineAthens.com titled “Some Sour as State Grabs Raw Milk — Inspectors impound supply meant to be sold at Athens farmers market”:

customers line up to buy local food from a coop in Athens Georgia

customers line up to buy local food from a coop in Athens Georgia

Athens locally grown food advocate Eric Wagoner has an appointment with representatives from the state Department of Agriculture on Monday.

They are coming to his house to watch him pour out 110 gallons of unpasteurized milk.

Inspectors call the milk, which is illegal to sell or distribute in Georgia, an imminent health risk, but the dozens of people who had ordered the milk say it tastes better and is better for you than pasteurized milk.

“People have been drinking raw milk for millennia,” said Melissa Link, who buys her groceries from Athens Locally Grown, the food network Wagoner runs, and has been drinking raw milk for two years. “And all of the sudden, we have to put it through this extra process before we can drink it?”

The impounded milk was ordered by customers of Athens Locally Grown – a Web site that collects orders for meat and produce, matches the requests to local farmers’ stock and distributes the food. Customers purchase the milk from a dairy in South Carolina, where it is legal to sell and distribute unpasteurized milk, and Web site organizers bring it to Athens on a weekly basis.

About 2,000 customers use the Athens Locally Grown Web site to buy groceries and about 100 farmers use the site to market their produce, said Wagoner, who organized the network of farmers and operates the site. Customers order early in the week and then pick up their groceries on Thursdays at the old Athens Farmers Market on West Broad Street.

This week, when Wagoner arrived to set up the market for people to pick up their groceries, inspectors from the state Department of Agriculture were waiting for him.

They wanted to make sure Wagoner wasn’t selling any un-inspected meat, but what they found was 110 gallons of unpasteurized milk from the Cows R Us Dairy in South Carolina.

It is legal to sell unpasteurized milk for human consumption in South Carolina, but Georgia laws ban selling or distributing raw milk for human consumption, according to agriculture department regulations.

The inspectors told Wagoner they had no choice but to impound the $440 worth of creamy contraband, he said.

Because the inspectors were in sedans, they could not confiscate the seven coolers full of milk, so they placed impound stickers on the containers.

“They are going to meet me at my house Monday morning and watch me pour it all out,” Wagoner said. “It’s like the 1930s and bootlegging whiskey or something.”

The scene would be comical if so many customers weren’t disappointed, he said. Raw milk is popular and drew new people to the Athens Locally Grown network….”

Read the whole story on OnlineAthens.com

David E. Gumpert of the Complete Patient blog has published a commentary on this case and what it portends. An excerpt:

Every week for the last five years, Eric Wagoner, a Georgia farmer, has been delivering raw milk to members of a buyers club he organized. Because he is bringing the milk from dairies in neighboring South Carolina, he is meticulous about the process he follows. Members of the buyers club place their orders directly with the South Carolina farms, and each gallon of milk is assigned to a specific consumer. “We don’t even bring a single extra gallon back with us,” he tells me. “Each gallon has to have a name tied to it.”

The acquisition of South Carolina raw milk by Georgia consumers is necessary because Georgia only allows the sale of raw milk for animal consumption, while South Carolina allows the sale of raw milk from farms to consumers.

When Eric arrived today at anold farmers market in Athens with 100-plus gallons of milk for club members, three agents from the Georgia Department of Agriculture were waiting for him.

“They told me it’s illegal to cross state lines to sell or distribute raw milk, and distribute is the key word. They taped all my coolers shut and put a ‘stop sale’ notice on them. They said they’re going to come to my farm Monday morning and destroy the milk. Unless we get the authorities to stop it. I think this load is lost, but perhaps we can do something in coming weeks.”

Eric says he spoke with head of the dairy division at the Georgia Department of Agriculture (Peggy Gates). “She was very gruff with me. She told me it’s against Georgia law to sell or distribute raw milk. She wouldn’t listen to me that it was South Carolina milk. Right now they have told me no raw milk can be distributed in Georgia. They used the words, ‘imminent health hazard.’ Until I can get someone to look at us long enough to realize we aren’t doing anything wrong… we are done.”

Not surprisingly, many of the people who bought the milk are upset. “A number get it for health reasons. The only thing I can tell them is to drive to South Carolina and pick it up themselves. It’s about an hour and 15 minutes.”

According to Pete Kennedy, head of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, today’s raid has all the earmarks of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration around it. “I don’t think Georgia would be enforcing a federal law without encouragement from FDA. (Georgia authorities) have been aware of this for a long time. Why take action now? It’s not a violation of Georgia law. You can consume raw milk in Georgia. It’s not a violation of South Carolina law.”  Federal law prohibits the sale of raw milk across state lines. But the sale had already been made, in South Carolina. The sold milk was simply being delivered to its owners….”

Read the whole story and comments here on the Complete Patient blog

Photo from Whistling Wind Farm

See our earlier post on Raw Milk in Athens Georgia


Filed under News

20 responses to “Raw milk seized in Athens Georgia raid

  1. Tony18

    Yeah, people have been drinking raw milk for thousands of years, and been getting sick as dogs from it.

    • Ann

      Raw milk is often contaminated with bacteria, especially Listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria causing severe illness. Exposure to Listeria can result in meningitis and (in pregnant women) miscarriages and neonatal illness. The process of pasteurization results in the destruction of viable bacteria. There is a reason why laws are passed, and in this case it is for the protection of the consumer.

      • Dan


        Couldn’t have anything to do with market control and the money to be made therefrom? Thanks anyway, I don’t need your brand of protection. MYOB!

    • Jessica Allgood

      How do you know? Are you a thousand years old and saying you’ve witnessed these illnesses thru the past thousand years? You have no facts. Just presumptions. It should come down to freedom of choice in America. You don’t need the gov. to be your nanny. There are many other “things” that are dangerous but legal (drinking, prescription drugs, and so on) but they aren’t illegal. It comes down to making $. Big $ for the gov. They don’t really give a hoot about you or any other citizen for that matter. Til it’s voting time anyway.

    • Sharon

      You are correct that people have been drinking milk for thousands of years and getting sick from it. That’s why Louis Pasteur invented pasteurization. BUT… Your ignorance is showing when you make an uninformed comment like that during our present time. We have many methods to ensure more cleanliness now, and the reason milk needs to be pasteurized in the present day is because of all the mass cows placed in small lots fed only enough to produce enough milk and fed lots or hormones and harmful antibiotics so the cows can keep up with mass production and not allowed to eat real grass and live and act as a cow should be. You opened you mouth and your lack of knowledge and education fell out.

  2. Pingback: Video of raw milk buyers in Georgia forced to destroy their milk — is this the proper role of government in America? « The Bovine

  3. John

    Y’all don’t know what your talking about.

    There is a raw milk farm, very big in California who raises natural grass fed cows in their appropriate habitat. These animals live to 14 years where factory cows live to 4. Organic Pastures in Fresno has been continuously tested for years by the FDA and they have NEVER found any pathogenic organisms in their raw milk.

    Y’all just sound like ignorant sheep headed to slaughter. Go read a book and learn an industry before posting scare tactic remarks. Enjoy the making of this once great nation turned police state.

  4. Philly Rubicans

    So if a “terrorist” was to teach those bullys with guns who are forcing the friendly farmers to pour out their milk a lesson, would they be celebrated as true American heros, or demonized in the media? I do not personally practice violence, but I hope that someone gets it on camera & puts in on youtube when mayday’s justice comes around for the big bullys keeping mom’s with babys away from healthy milk & are put in their place and their shiny badges are stomped in the wet dirt and raw milk is poured all over their shiny guns and a big flower is put in the holster instead.

  5. swdhj

    If this is a buyer’s club like the one I use here in Maryland to get milk from Pennsylvania, this is perfectly legal. The individual customers bought milk from a SouthCarolina dairy farm, and Athens Locally Grown’s (ALG) role is merely to pick up the milk and deliver it to a dropoff point rather than each individual driving all the way to the farm, so it saves time and fuel costs.

    It broke no law because no supplier sold or distributed any milk. Legally speaking, ALG is an agent of the buyer. It is legal for a Georgia resident to drive to South Carolina to buy milk, and alternatively, a Georgia resident can pool trips and pickup milk for both his family and his neighbor’s family. Further, a group of Georgia residents can organize a club whereby one person in the club gets the milk and brings it back to a dropoff point. This is milk that each individual club member bought from the South Carolina dairy.

    The Georgia officials were wrong to order the milk to be dumped. This was milk already owned by the buyers. The individual buyers should be compensated for their losses, plus court and legal fees. The only possible issue: make sure the South Carolina dairy is a legal, permitted raw milk dairy per SC regulations, and make sure the ALG driver receives the milk at the farmgate or store in a manner permitted by SC law. A victory will establish the legality of all buyer’s clubs to obtain raw milk for states in which raw milk farmgate or retail sales are not allowed, but where it is allowed in neighboring states. Good luck.

  6. T.C.

    Unfortunately people buy into the lies of the government. This is all about money and control. The corporations want the money and the government is under their control!
    I grew up on a farm and for many years drank raw cow and goat milk. Wow! My siblings and I are still alive! It is when you start to get into the mass production of any product that you start to get the hazards. We need to buy local, grow local and eat local, from smaller farms. You want to see this country get back on it’s feet? Cut out the big corporations and go back to the small businesses, you’ll see healthier and happier people. If anyone wants to organize a freedom to choose rally, we should show our support!

    • James

      I thing the tail is wagging the dog here..

      This country is under the control of foreign corporations, investors, banks, lobbies ect…

      The money is only a tool to coerce people to go along with the control.

      The borrower is always slave to the lender…

  7. James

    Every time a law is pasted in the name of safety or protection, it is only a diversion for people to wast their energy defending themselves on…
    The hidden reasons for controlling Raw Milk are..

    1. Reduce and control the human population by making people sick from a lack of nutrition.
    2. The end game is a one world government and the U.S. to be dismantled… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TzEEgtOFFlM

  8. Sarah

    The only reason why we have to pasteurize “big company” milk is because of the poor sanitation at the farms where they house their cows. If the cows are allowed to roam in pastures and eat grass and other natural (i.e. no soy meal and other feed regulated by, surprise surprise, the FDA) the risk of exposure to those harmful bacterias are extremely minimal. When you put 1,000 cows in a small area, fenced in, and allowed to stand in their own feces like the big company owned farms do, then yes you need pasteurization to kill the bacteria they are obviously exposed to.

    Whats next though? Is the FDA going to ban mothers from breast feeding their own children because of the unhealthy foods they eat are then transferred through their milk? I am pregnant now and I am constantly lectured by my doctor on what I eat and how that can be transferred to the baby while unborn and then through the breastmilk once born. The FDA doesn’t seem so concerned about the processed food and now the pending genetically engineered food that has been linked to cancer. If someone wants to drink raw milk or eat NATURAL foods, what right does the government have to say we can’t?

  9. Ted

    I agree completely with Sarah, if the animals were able to act the way nature intended them to be then their wouldn’t be a need for extreme measures to make the milk drinkable. But we have this desire to squeeze every last drop out of as many animals in the smallest space allowed, making in unbearable for any living creature to live a healthy life.

    Ted & Nicole
    Seventh Heaven Farm
    Seller of Raw goat and cow milk in the state of Georgia for
    “pet consumption only”

  10. Pingback: Majestic Theatre » Blog Archive » Farmageddon

  11. Hi all; I live in texas but am I am looking to retire next year to somewhere in the Southeast, Ga, Nc, Sc or Tenn. I grew up in East Tn. Anyway it’s legal to buy raw milk in Texas and i have been buying and drinking Raw Milk for 5 years now, and I don’t want to think about having to go back to drinking that dead hormone laden white stuff they sell in the grocery stores. One of my major prerequistes of where I end up living out my last years is that I live in a place where the the FDA (the Food and Drug Industry Gestapo) does not dictate what i can eat or drink. I really would like to buy a house in North East Ga Blue Ridge or Blairsville but this article has me rethinking. I noticed that it appears Ga can sell raw milk as long as it is labeled Pet Consumption I dont care how it is labled as long as it is produced and handled in a sanitary and clean manner. In texas the Raw Milk suppliers have to meet same sanitation standards as any other milk supplier is this true for Pet Milk in Ga??
    thanks Gary B.

    • James

      Question? Do Raw Milk Pet suppliers have to meet the same sanitation standards as any other milk supplier in Ga?? Yes and some suppliers deliver. In Atlanta metro we pick it up from the truck at locations around the city. You should first go to (Realmilk.com) and do a state by state search to find a milk supplier.. South Carolina if a free state with a long list of suppliers too.

  12. Mithro

    Newsflash: Harvard study: Pasteurized milk from industrial dairies linked to cancer


    Raw milk is healthier, not dangerous and doesn’t cause certain types of cancer!

  13. They can all kiss my ass ive drank raw milk all my life and always will cows and goat both born and raised on it take a look back people lived a hell of a lot longer back then than they do today why is that you thing ill tell you why they was’nt eating all the shit that we are today the raised thier own and they knew what they were feeding thier animals im 37 years old and have never been to a doctor or in the hospital never had a reason to have to go and most of my family live to be a ritefull old age 90 to 98 years old the youngest one in the family to die has been my aunt at 57 and a car wreck got her lol dam, dam, dam whats this world coming to oh well they want stop me from drinking it i propmise them that

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